Former NBA and LSU star Shaquille O'Neal works to help flood victims

Former NBA and LSU star Shaquille O'Neal works to help flood victims

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Most people look small next to him, but retired NBA star and former LSU basketball player Shaquille O'Neal is standing tall for Louisiana flood victims.

At the Carter Plantation in Springfield, La., golfers were teeing-up for a good cause Friday. O'Neal put on a golf tournament to help flood victims.

On the curb of the road leading to the golf course are mounds of storm debris from houses in the area.

"Even riding around the golf tournament you see a lot of people whose houses were destroyed," said O'Neal.

The golf classic is not his only effort to assist those affected by the catastrophic flooding in August.

Yesterday I went out in a part of Baton Rouge that was really affected, passed out goods, toys, you know stuff for the kids, stuff the families need, and we're donating money and helping people fix their houses up. This is what I was taught to do by my parents and Coach Dale Brown," O'Neal said.

He said he has been putting on a golf tournament for 20 years. But this year had to be different. He teamed up with LSU Head Basketball Coach Johnny Jones.

"Just excited that a guy like Shaquille O'Neal just recently been put in the Hall of Fame would lend his time, and energy to come back and make an impact in this area that he certainly loves," Jones said.

"Just wish that sometimes the powers that be could react a little faster, but I'm doing my part," said O'Neal.

All proceeds will benefit flood relief.

"It's not only here, dinners that we've put together, we've possibly raised over $100,000 just with the dinners, so with the golf tournament probably some $60-$80 some thousand, and then just some other things we've had the opportunity to do," said the coach.

O'Neal said he was in the state when the heavy rains turned neighborhoods into swamps.

"I live in Lafayette, Louisiana, so I was here and I came out to Baton Rouge to check on some people and I went to Denham Springs and almost ain't make it out. I saw it first-hand," he said.

Some of the participants said, yes, it was great to be able to mingle with Shaquille O'Neal, but they feel best about him helping the people still suffering because of the flood.

"It's always good to give back and to help those in need, and a great way to do it is play golf and enjoy it, so it's money well-spent," said Matthew Saucier.

"People just don't know the heart really that he has to see, touch and feel the people around here, to hopefully put some smiles on people's faces," said Jones.

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